March 21, 2011
One of my most amazing days ever! This tiny little town is the closest base to the El Rosario Reserve where the Monarch butterflies migrate each winter. Many have already started to fly back North, but I arrived just in time to see the tail-end of the 80 million mariposas that fill the sky, 4000 feet up in the fir trees.
First there was one, then a pair, then several monarchs fluttered around the sputtering bus as we slowly accended the steep, winding mountain. From the entrance, it was another 45 minutes to walk up (including photo breaks) until the trail opened up to a yellow grassy area full of flower bushes. Butterflies sat on the branches with the sun shinning through their orange wings. Above, the perfect blue sky glinted with bright flecks flying in every direction. They let the wind carry them, falling like leaves until it's necessary to use their own energy. It was as magical as sitting under cherry blossom trees when the white petals shower down.
Another 10 minutes up, and I truely felt like I was among the millions. Swarms flitted above my head and all of their shadows swept across the ground. Some barely missed my face, their soft flutters the most amazingly beautiful sound. Mating couples dropped infront of me. The remains of dried up wings covered the path. In the distance, a massive, orange wave descended from a tree--I couldn't believe how many I was seeing at one time!
Back in quiet Angangao, I had a lot of time to meet some of the locals. Last year, the town suffered a tragic flood that ran 4 feet deep along it´s main road down the mountain. It completely wiped out 2 villages and 20 people died. The sadness still lingers and is evident in every padlocked door and broken wall. Many people left to find work elsewhere, but the people who remain are working hard to rebuild the town. Francisco survived being pulled down the river and lives every day like it's his last. Him and others in the town are pushing to officially name Angangao Mexico´s 5th Magic Town. Muchos luck y wishes!